News From Grade 4

December 8th

This issue of the newsletter is all about our latest endeavor--DIY.org

DIY Challenges

According to DIY, “Challenges are exercises designed to help members gain new skill experience or improve their existing expertise. Challenges are designed by by DIY Skillmakers, who are staff members working at our HQ in San Francisco. They carefully plan DIY Challenges primarily by interviewing experts to understand the best approach to try any skill, and they scour the Web for the best how-to videos to explain how to get started.” Students choose three (or more) challenges listed under a skill. Students can look at other members' submissions and staff-curated videos to get ideas on completing the challenges. A photo or video is then created to show the completion of the challenge.

Classroom Objectives

Some objectives for the DIY challenges include having students:


  • read nonfiction text and follow directions
  • use goal-setting and time-management strategies
  • create multimedia projects
  • acknowledge and build upon personal strengths (also a district objective)
  • develop problem-solving strategies, perseverance, and appropriate risk-taking behaviors
  • recognize personal accomplishments
  • practice applying digital citizenship concepts in a safe environment
  • communicate learnings to others and share personal interests
  • ask and respond to questions
  • be self-directed in learning

DIY Safety and Privacy

Students do not use their real names anywhere on the site. They choose a nickname or username that is attached to any projects they upload. When students submit a project to the site, I receive an email. This allows me to check that there is nothing that identifies an individual student by name or school; if there is, then I remove it from the student's feed. DIY staff, known as moderators, check and post the submissions. I then receive an email from them, notifying me that a project has been posted.

Parent Connection

In addition to having my information, your child's account will also be attached to your email address. You will get notifications about their postings just like I do. IF YOU DO NOT WANT YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS ON YOUR CHILD'S DIY ACCOUNT, PLEASE LET ME KNOW. I will be adding the emails this weekend according to the records I have for the newsletter emails.

DIY Badges/Patches

After students successfully complete three challenges, they earn badges (or patches). They get these as laminated badges from me. They may take them home or keep them at school.

DIY New Interests

Another part of completing the challenges is sharing learning with others in the classroom. Students share their photos and video projects during morning meetings. Others then ask questions related to the presentation. Also, as students study different concepts in science, math, language arts, and other curricular areas during the school year, they will be introduced to different skill challenges. Through these connections, students may find interest areas that they hadn't identified before.